Samsung Galaxy Core Review

Interface and Functionality

The Samsung Galaxy Core runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with Samsung’s TouchWiz (the same version as on the Galaxy S III, one step short of the most current) on top. TouchWiz is one of the most popular Android user interfaces known for its somewhat cartoony looks, but also for adding some unique functionality.

To start off with the extra functionality, you can add shortcuts to apps straight to the lock screen for quick access. Unlock the phone, and you enter a home screen supporting up to 7 panels that you can freely add and remove. The notification shade is enriched with side scrollable toggles for everything that comes to mind - Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, Screen Orientation, etc.

Samsung brings its own weather and media widgets pre-installed, along with a handful of apps like S Planner, a music and video player apps and a file manager (called My Files) that we find useful.

The phonebook is another Samsung TouchWiz creation adding swipe gestures to contacts: swipe right on the name of a contact to call, or swipe to the left to send a message. This is convenient. However, one persisting issue with the phone application is that it just opens slowly. It takes a couple of seconds to open no matter what you are doing, and that is annoying.

If you like texting a lot, good news is the Samsung keyboard is one of the best out there. Buttons are responsive, well spaced and large enough.

Dual SIM functionality

As we mentioned earlier, the phone comes in both a single and dual SIM versions, and the dual SIM one is named Samsung Galaxy Core Duos. It supports dual standby technology with a single radio module, so both cards cannot be active at the same time. It is important to understand this - when you use one of the SIM cards, the other one would appear as if it was not active. So if a person tries to call you on your second SIM card while you talk on the first one, they simply would not be able to reach you.

Samsung has coined the name “Smart Dual SIM” for its dual SIM management technology. Managing your SIM cards happen after you first select one that acts as primary, or the default one for calls and text. You can also pre-define which of the SIM cards will be used for cellular data.

Processor and Memory

The Samsung Galaxy Core runs very smoothly out of the box. That is not a rarity after Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, but we still encounter devices that experience lag when simply scrolling around the main menu. Good news is the Galaxy Core is not one of them.

It runs on an entry-level Snapdragon S4 chip. This is the most basic variety of S4 called S4 Play (Qualcomm also makes the more advanced S4 Plus, S4 Pro and the top of the line S4 Prime). The particular model used here is the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Play MSM8625, built on a 45nm manufacturing node. The chip includes a dual-core Cortex A5-based processor with each of the cores running at 1.2GHz. There is a solid 1GB of LPDDR2 RAM (slower than LPPDR3 now included in higher-end devices) and Adreno 203 graphics that runs basic games like Temple Run effortlessly.

To better understand its performance, here is how the Galaxy Core performs in synthetic benchmarks.

Quadrant Standard AnTuTu GLBenchmark 2.5 (Egypt HD) Vellamo
(HTML5 / Metal)
Samsung Galaxy Core 3054 7470 1028 / 9.1 fps 1328 / 421
LG Optimus L7 II 2823 6674

HTC Desire 600 5034 11137 628 / 5.6 fps 1620 / 387
Acer Liquid E2 3963 13580 1774 / 16fps 1453  / 450

The handset features a decent amount of internal memory. There is 8GB of internal storage and around 5GB of them are available to the end user. You can also expand memory via microSD cards of up to 64GB.

Internet and Connectivity

There are two browsers on board - Google’s stock Android Browser and mobile Chrome. Both of them work very well. Scrolling around webpages happens without a stutter and zooming in and out is sufficiently smooth.

The Galaxy Core supports both Wi-Fi b/g/n and 3G connectivity. Downlink speeds on 3G reach 7.2Mbps, not the fastest around, but sufficient if you do not plan on streaming HD video.

Other connectivity options include GPS, Bluetooth and FM Radio.

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